Friday, January 26, 2007

One week later

It's been exactly that - one week, since my back went out. I was laid up, on my back, in bed, for five days. The first three, I wasn't really able to move much. I'd lie on my back, and to roll onto my side, I'd grab the headboard and slowly pull myself, usually having the back grab once or twice. By grab, I mean it would sieze up and send a shooting pain through my body. I took the muscle relaxer and the vicodin for just shy of two days, but couldn't stand being on these two drugs, so ditched them. The vicodin was brutal!

After three days, I was a bit more mobile while on my back, but still felt extremely weak and vulnerable. I'd left my bedroom maybe twice in these five days, to venture downstairs for a minute or two, only to retreat in pain back to the bed. I tried watching some of the Australian Open. The only thing that I've experienced that's more painful than this back injury is watching tennis while having this back injury. I watched a few movies, none that were worth recommending. By day five, I was starting to get depressed. I had been bummed about what had happened, but the feeling I felt on Tuesday and into Wednesday morning was really sorrow. Not a feeling sorry for myself type of sorrow but, I guess, just a depression.

Finally, on Wednesday morning, I dragged my sorry-ass out of bed at 9am, and painfully took a walk outside. Man, did that simple 20 minute walk do wonders. It hurt physically, but mentally, just to feel the sun and be in the fresh air - it felt awesome. Sorry if this seems dramatic, but I've never been laid up, immobile, feeling helpless, for five days. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I've had some very bad accidents where I was quite banged up, but nothing that left me so useless physically.

Coming back from the walk, I thought that it's time to start pushing myself a bit. I was in pain so I was back in my bedroom, preparing to lie down again. I took the folded up ironing board and placed it on the bed and lied down on it on my back. I then did some slow pelvic tilts and hugged my knees into my chest. I actually started to feel a bit better. Then, around 2pm, I went for another walk, came back and lied on the board again for a bit. At 3:30pm I slowly got in my car and drove to see my uncle in Stratford, who's a Chiropractor. He did a minor adjustment and gave me a belt to wear that supports the low back - like the one the Home Depot guys wear.

I had an active day, compared to the previous five, and my back felt better! Thursday I returned to work, and ditched the belt. I felt like it was too much of a crutch. Thursday, I stayed active all day. My back still felt fragile and would send some signs to me every once in awhile, but I would say I was 50% better. I went to see Paul Moyse Thursday afternoon - a chiropractor here in Monroe and an excellent runner. He spent some time with me, discussing the situation, and concluded that since most of the pain was on my left lower side now, and because of my symptoms, that my injury was related to my supraspinitus joint.

Paul also told me that I needed to stop sleeping on my stomach. This is a 39 year old habit, but I'm proactive. I'll do whatever it takes to get healthy and better. So I'm now on a quest to eliminate stomach sleeping. Last night, I was up every hour. I'd fall asleep on one side only to wake up uncomfortable or with my lower arm asleep. I'd roll to the other side and repeat. I think I figured out the pillow situation though for my new sleeping habits. I have to say that when I did awake, my back felt allright throughout the night. That is, until my alarm went off. The final time I fell asleep, I must have rolled onto my stomach, and when I awoke, guess what? My back hurt!

Today was even better. I worked throughg the day seeing my pt clients, then I stopped at the gym on the way home and ran a very easy 40 minutes on the treadmill. My back felt vulnerable, yet ok. So, since Wednesday morning, I've made huge gains.

In hindsight, I'm glad I experienced this. Being this vulnerable and helpless sure makes you appreciate your health more. And not just the super health of swimming and biking and running. I have a household ritual of giving my kids piggyback rides up to bed each night. It killed me to not be able to do this. It killed me for my kids to see me so banged up. For five days, the only time I spent with them was when they'd come in to say hi or check on me or say goodnight. They are used to me being active, playing with them and doing things. Kate was my little nurse though. This accident showed that I have some limiters that I need to work on to make me more balanced. I never really had any serious biomechanical problems in all my athletic career, yet I can't take this for granted.

The thought that I could be vulnerable to this again in the future is enough motivation for me to work on the things I need to. Thankfully, this happened in January instead of in June. My mission now is to ensure that a month from now, this will all be but a memory. That memory though is something I certainly won't take for granted.




Eric said...

Thanks for the update EH. Amazing how something like that can lay you out for so long....and I was bummed about the head cold I've been fighting.

Now you know how to correct it, just do it.

JenC said...

It is amazing to me that such fit individuals as us (especially you) can suffer from stuff like this. It doesn't seem right/fair, but I guess it keeps us feeling human. I'm glad to hear you are feeling better. Recover well!